Match Report: Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool revival gains impetus with Luis Suarez the miracle worker against Sunderland

Liverpool 3 Sunderland 0

Anfield

There has always been something of the revivalist preacher about Brendan Rodgers and it seemed tonight that his future might just work.

Daniel Sturridge, the striker on whom the Liverpool manager has invested £12 million, was looking down from the directors' box. Luis Suarez's argument to be Footballer of the Year was looking irresistible and there was one fabulous passing move that involved Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson, men whom Anfield imagined were beyond redemption.

As the teams trotted out for the second half, the Tannoys played a song by a Manchester band whose lead singer is a fervent United supporter. The choice of The Stone Roses seemed less important than the lyrics to "I am the Resurrection".

The view that Sturridge had would have been better than Demba Ba's at Stamford Bridge. His arrival was supposed to ease the pressure on Suarez, although it may just have pushed him to fresh heights.

"I was talking with Harry Redknapp after our game at Loftus Road and he said Suarez was a Messi-type character," Rodgers remarked. "When I gave him a break at the start of the season he didn't want it. He is a player that has to play two or three times a week to be on top of his game – one game a week is no good to him."

Liverpool have taken nine points from their holiday programme; sweeping aside Fulham, Sunderland and Queen's Park Rangers, who looked a shadow of the side that overcame Chelsea last night. However, in between, was the debacle at Stoke that showed the other side of Rodgers' Liverpool.

For Sunderland, this might have been a humbling evening rather than just a forgettable one. Liverpool had two second-half strikes from Suso and Joe Allen ruled out for offside while Simon Mignolet twisted acrobatically to deny Steven Gerrard's viciously deflected shot.

Searching for an adjective to describe his new club, Sturridge called it "humongous" which The Independent once described as the "one of the ugliest words ever to slither into our dictionaries".

Suarez has been the subject of every kind of adjective, from the deeply offensive to the glittering. However, with every game that passes there has been less of the flaws and more of the genius.Both the goals that gashed open Sunderland's defence before half time were brilliantly conceived. The first came from a delicious chip from Suarez that caught the Sunderland back four horribly square and sent through Raheem Sterling.

Mignolet sprinted from his line and challenged the teenager to chip him, which seemed at the time to be a lethal risk. He responded with a beautifully-measured effort that the Anfield Road End recognised was a goal from the moment it left his boot.

Then came the moment of the match, the time when the Uruguayan did not take or even look for the foul but remained on his feet and scored.

When Carlos Cuellar barged into him, the linesman signalled furiously but Suarez stayed upright, the Spaniard slipped and referee Phil Dowd impeccably allowed the advantage. The result was a measured shot that swept through Mignolet's legs and into the net.

Seven minutes after the interval, came the kind of incisive long pass that is Gerrard's trademark but which has been strangely absent this season. It found Suarez, who was marked but not nearly tightly enough to prevent his 18th goal of the season – one more than he scored last season.

Those who had followed Sunderland through the years would have known long before that the result was already settled. They had not won at Anfield since 1983 under a manager, Alan Durban, whose most famous observation was: "if you want entertainment, go to the circus".

The level of entertainment on Wearside has often been pitiful this season but, lately, there have been signs – even here – that a corner might have been turned.

Last night Sunderland squandered several opportunities to score before they completely lost control of the evening. James McClean almost walked through the Liverpool defence, Seb Larsson shot too tamely and a goalmouth scramble forced a fine, reaction save from Pepe Reina, whose abilities have been the subject of increasing questioning on Merseyside.

When Reina saved, Martin O'Neill punched the air with an impotent fury. This was an encounter between two Ulster managers and the man from Kilrea knew he was being badly beaten by the boy from sweet Carnloch Bay.

Man of the match Suarez.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Attendance 44,228.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones